Prince Charles: It is a fine achievement to be a plumber or a doctor

From a speech given at a seminar hosted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, at Lambeth Palace in London
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The Independent Online

While talking about the Prince's Trust, I might just add that the idea that I think that "people should not try to rise above their station" is a travesty of the truth, nor indeed have I ever used any such words or anything like them.

While talking about the Prince's Trust, I might just add that the idea that I think that "people should not try to rise above their station" is a travesty of the truth, nor indeed have I ever used any such words or anything like them.

For the last 30 years I have done all I can to give young people who have limited opportunities, usually through no fault of their own, a chance to succeed. This is what my Prince's Trust is all about.

Those we support have often overcome enormous challenges, such as long-term unemployment, failing at school, illness and addiction, and criminal records, and have gone on to succeed in education, get secure long-term jobs, and own their own businesses, or whatever. Each and everyone of them is a success, and my pride in them is boundless.

But success can come in many forms. In my view it is just as great an achievement to be a plumber or a bricklayer as it is to be a lawyer or a doctor. Not everyone has the same talents or abilities, but everyone, with the right nurturing, can make a real difference to their communities and to the country. This is why I am so encouraged by the efforts which are now being made to recognise vocational skills in our education system and in the wider economy.

I know that my ideas are sometimes portrayed as old-fashioned. Well, they may be. But what I am concerned about are the things that are timeless regardless of the age that we live in. Also I have been around long enough to see what were at the time thought of as old-fashioned ideas now come into vogue.

Ambition is a good thing and should never be constrained by a person's starting point in life, and people must be encouraged to fulfil their aspirations in ways that recognise their different abilities and talents.

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